Game – Car Trip

The Shotgun Game

In 2006-2007, during my senior year of high school, whenever my friends and I went on a car ride, we would determine who would sit in the front right seat AKA shotgun by playing a game. The way one claimed the right to that most favored seat was by being the first person to yell shotgun after seeing the car. There were a few stipulations to the game-you could not call shotgun from indoors or before you could see the car. I am not exactly sure when I had learned this game, but all my friends and I knew of it independently. We played the game fairly religiously and quite intensly, but it rarely became a point of argument or contention. I had heard of a variation of the game where you must yell shotgun no joust to secure the seat. If a person yells joust after you say shotgun, but before you get no joust out, they play you in rock paper scissors for the seat.

The game is interesting because it sort of reveals a core dynamic of any group of boys. Generally the front seat isn’t that much more comfortable than the back and most of the trips we went on weren’t more than a few minutes. So really the front seat isn’t that much more comfortable than the other seats. And yet we competed for it. Admittedly the game and the competitive aspect of it were fun, but I think the major motivation for the game was status. The front seat represented, perhaps not consciously, dominance and status.